Titles to Know and Recommend, Week of June 5, 2017

  

“Breathless anticipation” is the watchword of the week, with John Grisham releasing his first summer novel, Camino Island (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Print; RH and BOT Audio).

Featuring plot elements that will appeal to both booksellers and librarians, it’s about hunting down handwritten F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts stolen from the Princeton Library. The investigation leads to a bookseller (indie, of course) on the fictional island of the title in Florida. Grisham also has a new title coming in October, titled at this point simply New Legal Thriller.

Of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (PRH/Random House; RH and BOT Audio), the Washington Post‘s chief critic Ron Charles writes, “We waited 20 years for [Roy’s] follow-up to The God of Small Things. It was worth it.”

The titles covered in this column, and several other notable titles arriving next week, are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, EarlyWord New Title Radar, Week of June 5, 2017

Media Magnets

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating, Alan Alda (PRH/Random House; RH Large Print; RH and BOT Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Not a celebrity memoir, but a book by Alda about his avocation and passion, helping people to communicate better and how he has helped scientists, academics and medical professionals explain themselves more clearly. In a NYT essay, he talks about the origin of the book, when he and a dentist miscommunicated (do not read if dentists make you queasy).

Peer Picks

Three LibraryReads titles arrive this week, including the #1 pick for June, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (HC/Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio).

“Susan Ryeland is a London book editor who has just received the latest manuscript from one of her most irascible authors, Alan Conway. But the manuscript’s ending appears to be missing and she learns that Conway has committed suicide. As Ryeland learns more about his death, she starts to question whether a murder has occurred and begins to investigate. Magpie Murders is a delightful, clever mystery-within-a-mystery. Horowitz shows real mastery of his craft. This is a terrific, modern take on the traditional mystery with ingenious puzzles to solve.” — Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Library, Libertyville, IL

Additional Buzz: It is also the #1 Indie Next pick for June and a GalleyChat favorite. It is on a number of summer reading lists, including Janet Maslin’s NYT‘s preview “Books To Breeze Through This Summer” and USA Today‘s “10 hot books you won’t want to miss this summer.” It is also on Bustle‘s list of “29 New Fiction Books To Read This Summer” and AARP’s list of “Best Beach Reading 2017.”

The Alice Network, Kate Quinn (HC/ William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

“Outstanding fictional account of the Alice network, women spies in World War I, tough and determined to defeat the Germans. The story centers on Eve Gardiner, aka Marguerite, a young woman trained to spy on the Germans, and Charlie St. Clair, a young woman post WWII, pregnant, lost and finding her direction. The two meet and the story alternates chapters as Charlie is determined to find her cousin, Rose presumed dead after the war, while Eve’s story of the Alice network unfolds. A fantastic book with strong female characters.” — Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, NY

Additional Buzz: RT Book Reveiws says it is “Lovingly crafted and brimming with details.” LJ includes it on their roundup of “Summer Escapes: Roll Out the Beach Towel with Some Genre Fiction.” They also include Magpie Murders (above).

Do Not Become Alarmed, Maile Meloy (PRH/Riverhead; RH Large Print; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

“Liv and Nora, who are cousins, decide to take their families on a cruise. Both have an eleven-year-old and a younger child as well. At one of the ports, the moms take the children out with another family they met on the ship. All goes well until the children, in a brief moment, aren’t observed and disappear. From here the nightmare begins, and the story alternates between what is happening to the children and the adults. The story is gripping and the characters are well-developed. The book explores family and marital dynamics, race, privilege, guilt, and responsibility.” — Mary Bennett, Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, IN

Additional Buzz: It is a June Indie Next pick. Entertainment Weekly includes it on their list of “Summer’s 20 Must-Read Books”, writing “Every parent’s nightmare comes true in Meloy’s literary page-turner.” In their separate review, the magazine gives it a B+, calling it a “taut, nervy thriller.” It is on Louise Erdrich and Emma Straub’s summer reading list for PBS as well as the lists created by Bustle, The Seattle Times, Travel and Leisure magazine, the Houston Chronicle, and Southern Living. It also made the spring book list from Parnassus Books.

Five additional Indie Next titles publish this week:

Stephen Florida, Gabe Habash (Consortium Book Sales/Coffee House Press; HighBridge Audio).

“Spanning a college wrestler’s senior season, Stephen Florida is eerie, unsettling, and unlike anything else. It can be hard to live in Stephen’s head, but it is impossible to stop reading or to forget what you find there. Stephen is unpredictable, sympathetic, focused, frenzied, cold, and tender. He is hard to love, yet I love him. We are lucky to have a new novel like this: something you haven’t seen before, that makes you remember what good fiction is capable of.” —Tyler Goodson, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Additional Buzz: HuffPost picks it as one of their “24 incredible Books You Should Read This Summer” (they also pick Do Not Become Alarmed, above). It is one of Nylon‘s “50 Books We Can’t Wait To Read in 2017” and on BuzzFeed‘s “Exciting New Books You Need To Read This Summer” list, calling it “Unsettling yet emotionally compelling.” Powells bookstore offers an interview, writing in the introduction that the main character “is one of the more exceptional characters in recent literature, and his voice, as he tries to move forward through his tightly circumscribed life, is both haunting and hilarious.”

Blackout, Marc Elsberg (Sourcebooks Landmark; OverDrive Sample).

“Already a huge bestseller internationally, Marc Elsberg’s Blackout is poised to be a sensation in the U.S. this June. In Blackout, hackers are able to take down all the electrical grids across Europe, resulting in a total blackout more far-reaching than anything previously thought possible. Once it becomes clear that this event is not a glitch and the depths of the crisis — no lights, no heat, no Internet, no cell service — become evident, chaos ensues. Piero Manzano is an activist and a former hacker whose investigation into the cause of the disaster soon makes him a prime suspect and forces him to run from the authorities. This is a taut, fast-paced thriller about a frighteningly plausible scenario.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road, Finn Murphy (W.W. Norton; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

“This memoir of a life spent driving trucks full of strangers’ personal belongings across the country is the book I didn’t know I needed. Finn Murphy writes engaging slice-of-life stories about his time as a long-haul truck driver while also showing the changes in the trucking industry and American life in the decades he’s spent pulling thousands of pounds up mountains, through storms, and across plains. Trucking is a solitary life, but Murphy grabbed me like a friend and took me with him on his journey.” —Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

Additional Buzz: NYT reviews, writing it is “almost shamefully enjoyable, allowing readers to have their fix of “fabulous-life-of” porn and class outrage, too.” Murphy offers a playlist for drivers, posted on the Powells’ site.

The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry (HC/HarperLuxe; Custom House; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

“If you love mystery, Victorian England, and exploring the tension between science and religion, you will love The Essex Serpent. Many contemporary authors manage to evoke for readers that experience of reading Jane Austen or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for the first time. The real miracle of Sarah Perry is that she manages to do so with a completely fresh voice. With beautiful sentences and characters and landscapes so well-crafted you feel you’ve been there, The Essex Serpent captures the imagination and manages to deliver the sense of wisdom only good literature can.” —Tina Ontiveros, Klindt’s Booksellers, The Dalles, OR

Additional Buzz: It has done extraordinarily well in the UK. The Guardian writes it has had “an astonishing trajectory, selling more than 200,000 copies in hardback alone – 40 times more than the initial sales target – and scooping up nominations as varied as the Costa fiction award to the Wellcome prize for books about medicine and health.” Perry beat both Sebastian Barry and Paul Beatty out and won the British Book Award, both best novel and the Book of the Year. It was also on the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction long list and the Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist.

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, Nina Riggs (S&S; S&S Audio).

“This uplifting and affirming book will alter readers’ views about books on death. Nina Riggs’ memoir shares the story of both her ongoing battle against cancer and her mother’s valiant fight against the same disease. Both women face the realities of their situation with wonderful humor and candor. Readers will find themselves laughing out loud and sharing passages with other book lovers. As a cancer survivor myself, I felt that I was reading the ‘bright book’ of the season. The hope, spirit, and determination exhibited in these pages will provide inspiration to all, whether dealing with this disease or not.” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Additional Buzz: The Washington Post calls it “this year’s When Breath Becomes Air.” It is People‘s Book of the Week, calling it a “deeply affecting memoir, a simultaneously heartbreaking and funny account of living with loss and the specter of death. As she lyrically, unflinchingly details her reality, she finds beauty and truth that comfort even amid the crushing sadness.”

Tie-ins

 

 

 

 

 

Spider-Man Homecoming opens on July 7, spinning webs of tie-ins before it lands. It picks up after Captain America: Civil War and stars Tom Holland, Chris Evans, and Robert Downey Jr., among many others.

Spider-Man: Homecoming: The Deluxe Junior Novel by Jim McCann (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; also in a regular paperback edition; OverDrive Sample) will be one of the lead tie-ins. A level reader also comes out, Spider-Man: Homecoming: Meet Spidey by Charles Cho (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

As the Wonder Woman film gets much love from critics, a critical tie-in hits the shelves, Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization by Nancy Holder (PRH/Titan Books).

Another Doctor Strange book comes out this week, long after the 2016 film has left theaters, and a few months after the February DVD release, a middle grade novel is based on the movie, Phase Three: MARVEL’s Doctor Strange by Alex Irvine (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample).

The “phase three” of the title is not a reference to a sequel but rather to the Marvel Cinematic Universe time line, the period of time when the Avengers have become at odds with each other.

For our full list of upcoming adaptations, download our Books to Movies and TV and link to our listing of tie-ins.

Leave a Reply